Faith, Personal Growth, Relationships

Day 9: A Great Conversationalist Lives Small, part 1

live small, humility

I’m a talker. Are you a talker? Although talking wears me out (being a self-confessed introvert), I do love getting to know other people and hearing their stories.

I dare say, we each have a bazillion conversations every day. With our kids, our spouses, mothers, neighbors, friends, teachers, strangers…conversation is a driver in relationship development. Living small can drastically affect our conversations.

To slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. Titus 3:2

Over a year ago, I was heading to dinner with some wonderful women, and I was asking God to put a muzzle over my mouth.

I’ve learned that I need preemptive prayers for the words I might say, could say, should say. Often, I have left gatherings with regret over silly, insensitive things that rolled off my tongue (Then, I have to utter desperate “Father-please-help-them-forget” prayers!).  So, I was asking the Lord to guard my mouth and give me wisdom on what to say and when to say it before I had the chance to mess up (because remember, I am a messed-up chick!).

I resolved with the Lord to:

Listen for what their heart needs to hear and respond to that need. Then, to show them love without any expectation of return questioning or interest in me.

That night, I experienced living small in such a sweet, delightful, liberating, best-conversationalist sort of way.

Listen & respond IN LOVE to what their heart needs to hear.

In conversations, it is so tempting to listen & look for ways to interject our OWN story or personal example. It’s as if two people are on a tennis court, “volleying” the share-about-me ball back and forth without truly engaging or inquiring deeper about the other.

To flesh this out, let’s pretend you are having a conversation with someone and are given the opportunity to live small. For each example, the first time you “volley;” the second time, you live small:

Example 1

  • They say: I’ve had headaches for the last month.
  • You say: I used to have headaches all the time in high school. My doctor told me to do this and this…

Instead, Live Small by humbly listening and responding in love…

  • They say: I’ve had headaches for the last month.
  • You say: I’m so sorry that’s happening to you. Tell me what’s going on.

Example 2

  • They say: Hi, we are new to the area. My parents live about 18 hours away. It’s hard.
  • You say: Goodness. I know what you mean. My parents live far away too and it hard to find time with our busy schedules to see them. The last time we saw them was…

Instead, Live Small by humbly listening and responding in love…

  • They say: Hi, we are new to the area. My parents live about 18 hours away. It’s hard.
  • You say: Goodness. That is so far away. How often are you able to see them? What brought you so far from home? Have you found community here yet? Do you need any recommendations for a good hair salon?

Do you see the ever slight difference? One focuses on you, the other humbly digs deeper into who they are.

Believe me, I’m no perfect conversationalist.  I have found myself returning to the “tennis volley” many, many times.  But in my 31 day journey to live small,  I’m listening to others’ needs and responding to them in love.

listenrespond2

 

So here’s the challenge: During a conversation today (at anytime/with anyone), listen, truly listen, for what the other person needs to hear and humbly respond in selfless love. Listen & respond.

31 days, the nester, live small

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4 thoughts on “Day 9: A Great Conversationalist Lives Small, part 1

  1. I’m thinking you might of stepped on my toes just a little – I can be a big talker, thanks for the reminder to keep the focus on the other person. Loving this series.

    1. oh girl. I know. I’ve been all over myself on this one. Such a hard habit to recreate. Blessings to you as you set your heart to living small.

  2. This is so good, so hard and so necessary. I too walk away from chats kicking myself for silly things I said and for drawing the conversation to me! Love this intentional shift away from self and focusing on loving others better. So good. Thank you Amy!

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